Picture Frame Glass

It is common to assume that the clear material you look through, to admire artwork in a picture frame, is always glass. There are alternatives to glass and so the general term used for this material is actually picture 'glazing'. Variations include acrylic and lamination glazing and within these categories many sub-categories exist. There is no one material perfect for every condition and they all have their respective pros and cons.

Regular Glass

This is the most common type of glazing. It is strong, resistant to scratches and relatively affordable. The most frequent problems with it include its breakability, and weight compared to other options. Also, glass filters only approximately 50% of destructing U.V. rays.

Non-Glare Glass

Non-glare glass is great if your artwork is hanging right in front of a window. However, the protection factor is still low, but at least you'll be able to see the image. Be aware that the non-glare glass properties also make the image less distinct because of the etched surface's ability to diffuse light. This 'fuzzy' image is a personal preference since some people actually prefer the softening. This glass is slightly more expensive than regular.

Conservation Glazing

As in the title, this glazing protects your artwork from harmful U.V. rays. It filters out more that 97%. Glazing is a coating that can be added to most forms of glass or acrylic and it will significantly reduce any damage to your artwork due to adverse conditions. You will pay top dollar for this luxury, but get great quality, while preserving your valuables at the same time.

Museum Glass

Imagine standing inches away from a framed picture and not being able to tell whether or not there is any type of glazing on it. Museum glass is so clear and so glare-free that you may have to touch it to know its there. At certain angles you can see a slightly colored tint, but with its U.V. protection this is the ultimate.

Acrylic Glazing

This is a very popular type of picture glazing, it comes second behind glass. It is commonly known as 'Plexiglass', but this is actually a brand name.

Pros of acrylic picture glazing are:

  • Much lighter than glass
  • Acrylic Glazing is practically shatterproof,
  • It has a greater level of U.V. protection, filtering more than 60% of the harmful rays.
  • It is available in both regular and non-glare forms.

Cons of acrylic picture framing are:

  • The primary disadvantage is that acrylic scratches easily
  • It is surprisingly expensive because it is considered higher quality than regular glass.

Do not use glass cleaners to clean acrylic because remember it is plastic, NOT glass. The surface will become foggy and rough cloths can leave irreparable scratches. Use a soft cloth, and purchase a special cleaner just for acrylic.


Lamination is a sheet of thin plastic, essentially melted or vacuum-sealed onto the surface of your artwork. Lamination protects from dust and moisture, but is still easily bent or damaged. It is light and useful in a classroom, needing only pushpins to display it on the wall. It is a permanent process and is recommended only for the display of items with little value.

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